Decorating & Design
December 18, 2015
DIY: Gilded Leaves
Interiors Director Meg Crossley shares step-by-step instructions on how to make metallic leaves with faux aged vases.
When I visit museums, I love seeing glass bottles that have been dug up out of archaeological sites and are mottled or discolored from sitting in the earth so long. I thought they would make a gorgeous centerpiece on my holiday table, but it’s hard to find bottles in vintage shops that have aged nicely and are large enough to use as vases. Instead, I faux-aged some inexpensive new bottles and paired them with spray-painted leaves and branches for a touch of metallic glam.
You’ll need glass bottles, glass paint, foam paintbrush, wax paper, spray bottle of water, cut greenery (available from most florists) or branches, and spray paint.
Step 1: Gather Materials And Paint Bottles
Choose a few shades of translucent glass paint in natural tones and get two sets of glass bottles from a dollar or craft shop: a few small ones to use as test bottles and a few larger ones to use for your actual centerpiece. Paint each set with the glass paint and a foam paintbrush and set on a sheet of wax paper or other protective surface.
Step 2: Spray Bottles
Just after painting, lightly spritz each bottle with water from a spray bottle and wait about 30 minutes for the paint to drip. If you like the faux-aged look, repeat the painting and spritzing on the set of larger bottles. If the paint is too thick, spritz again. Once you have a look you like, set the bottles aside. Let the paint air-cure for a few days before using the bottles on your tabletop. (If you let the paint cure for 21 days, you can wash the bottles in the dishwasher’s top rack.)
Step 3: Trim Leaves And Tape Off
Trim the stems of your leaves and branches to fit the bottles. Tape off a 1″ to 1 1⁄2″ section at the bottom of each stem that won’t be painted. When placed in water, the unpainted section of stem will continue to drink and keep the arrangement looking fresh.
Step 4: Paint Leaves
Working outside or in a well-ventilated area, spray-paint the leaves, starting with the backs. I used a gold chrome paint that coordinated with my flatware and candlesticks, but you could choose any metallic shade you like. Let them dry for about 30 minutes, then turn the leaves over and paint the fronts. Let dry and remove tape. Fill the painted, cured bottles with 1″ to 2″ of water, arrange the leaves inside, set on your table and enjoy!